Blast back to the 70s

I just got back  from seeing Roger Hodgson, formerly of the 70s rock group Supertramp.  He played at Casino Rama in Orillia, Ontario, in what is now an annual ritual.

It was a blast.  Six couples, most of us friends from high school, got together for the trip down memory lane.  We all came of age when Supertramp was at the height of its popularity.  So, there were plenty of flashbacks as Hodgson– note for note and lick for lick, reminded us all that he was clearly the driving force in the Hodgson/Rick Davies rock marriage. 

Hodgson’s voice and musical talents have not diminished in the thirty-plus years since he first wrote and  performed Supertramp’s iconic hits.  The music was flawless.   Hodgson’s voice is amazingly fresh– he’s in his sixties now.

Canadian Aaron MacDonald expertly channelled John Helliwell’s saxophone and Davies’ vocals with his exceptional talent.  MacDonald, with the urging of Hodgson in the past few years, has also mastered the harmonica and several other brass instruments.  The rapport between the two was obvious throughout the night in their team effort.  And, for even more Canadian content, the Elora Festival Singers joined in for several songs, providing terrific vocal depth. 

Listening to Crime of the Century’s great hit Hide in Your Shell,  I was suddenly propelled back to memories of my old highschool buddy Roy, air-drumming to the song played at full throttle in his parents’ rec-room.  For me, it was Fool’s Overture, one of last night’s encores, that was the highlight of the night. It was played with all of the richness of the original, right down to the slice of Winston Churchill’s famous ‘Never Surrender’ speech from 1940. Vocals from the Elora chorus were spot-on.   

Hodgson’s introduction to Breakfast in America provided some truly giddy moments as he recalled that his girlfriend of the time was clearly not impressed by the lyrics (“Take good look at my girlfriend, not much of a girlfriend…”).  Hide in your Shell was also performed note-perfect and rendered all the more meaningful with Hodgson’s introduction.  He says he continues to receive mail from fans who credit the song with helping them through a rough time. 

Hodgson has great rapport with his audience– many of whom now make it an annual ritual to see him at Rama.  One had to wonder if his sincerity was the practised fake sort of an accomplished performer.  But Hodgson appears to be the real deal.  He’s developed quite an on-line following and  the rave reviews he consistently garners speak of his ability to connect.   He clearly values his spiritual life.  In a 2009 Interview  he was asked if he had been able to fulfill all of his dreams.  In reply he said, “I think I have to serve others. With my life or with my music. Every day I wake up very grateful for what I have. And now my dream is to share my heart with my audience, help them a bit … Give a little bit … to be happy.”

Hodgson’s 2010 tour wrapped up with last night’s show at Rama.  He’ll kick off his 2011 Tour  with a February 25th date in California before he’s off to several dates in Germany. On May 25th, he’ll be at London’s Royal Albert Hall, an awesome venue for his show. 

When I got home this morning, the first thing I did was flip The Very Best of Supertramp
into the CD player.  But I also checked my bins of old vinyl albums.  Why?  Apparently one in fifteen Canadian households have both Crime of the Century and Breakfast in America in their musical libraries.  Yes, I have them both.

Hope to see you back at Rama next fall, Roger.  Special thanks to my friend Jim for organizing the trip. Roy, wherever you are, keep on rockin’.

John Ecker / Pantheon

About Pantheon Lives in Canada. Likes to travel. Loves Europe. Avid Photographer. Drives Mazdas
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